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2-268 (Original)

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author,male,Backhouse, James,49 addressee
Narrative Discourse
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Public Written
Clark, 1977
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2-268.txt — 2 KB

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Much of the country near Freemantle, is of limestone, covered with sand; it is unproductive of herbage, adapted for flocks, and unlikely, in a state of nature, to yield anything for the support of a new colony. With a little culture. it is said, however, to yield good vegetables. Potatoes are excellent, and in some situations, produce three crops in a year. Vines and figs thrive, even in the town, where the limestone rock, is covered with little but fragments and sand. Industry is not great in the Colony, and much of the land will yield nothing without it.
The Colony is so poor, as to be unable to import sheep in sufficient quantity, to stock its lands, so that the holders of grants of from 5,000 to 100,000 acres, have little stock of any kind upon them. Such grants are consequently, of so little value, as to occasion land to be sold, as low as from Is. 6d. to 2s. 6d. per acre! [428] Had the money expended in spirits, since the foundation of the Colony, been occupied in the importation of sheep, it is not improbable that land might now have been ten times its present value; and had no grants originally exceeded 5,000 acres, many more persons would have had the means of maintaining flocks, of about 1,000 sheep each. The wealth of the Colony would probably have been thus increased, so as to have rendered grants of this size, by this time, as valuable as those of 50,000 acres each, now are. Spirit drinking, and avarice in obtaining grants of large extent, have paralysed the country, which, beyond a doubt, is naturally very inferior to what was originally represented. The exports of oil and wool, are yet very inconsiderable, perhaps, not amounting to £4,000 in any one year, and almost the only other sources of income to the Colony, are, the payments of Government salaries, the supply of provision to the few ships that put in here, and a little arising from private property. The persons, who have improved their circumstances by emigration to this country, are labourers, store-keepers, and a few others, into whose hands much of the capital that was originally in the possession of other Colonists, has passed; but by this transition, the capital of the Colony is not increased. Its population is said to be now, only about 2,000, or one third of what it was, three years after the Colony was first settled. Death, frequently the result of drinking, and emigration to Australia and Tasmania, have been the chief causes of this reduction.